Journal Article
Multicenter Study
Randomized Controlled Trial
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Therapist-supervised hand therapy versus home therapy with therapist instruction following distal radius fracture.

PURPOSE: To investigate whether there was a difference in Patient-Rated Wrist Hand Evaluation (PRWHE) scores between patients with and without comorbidities who receive regular supervised therapy provided by a certified hand therapist (CHT) compared with patients who were provided with a home exercise program and were regularly monitored.

METHODS: Fifty patients with a diagnosis of distal radius fractures and volar plate fixation were enrolled in a prospective, randomized clinical trial comparing those who received therapy under the supervision of a CHT with those enrolled in a home exercise program that was instructed and monitored by a CHT. The primary outcome measure (PRWHE) and secondary outcome measures, total arc of motion for wrist flexion and extension, supination and pronation, and grip strength, were assessed at 12 weeks. The primary outcome measure for both groups was also gathered at 6 months.

RESULTS: There were no statistically significant differences between the final scores of the PRWHE, wrist or forearm motion, pain, or grip strength between groups. Effect size calculations revealed that both groups experienced a large effect size for all outcomes.

CONCLUSIONS: Supervised clinic-based therapy is equally beneficial for patients without complications. Clinic-based therapy may be preferable for patients with noteworthy complications after a distal radius fracture with volar plate fixation. Patients with decreased finger motion and various comorbidities may benefit from therapy provided in a clinic under the supervision of a certified hand therapist.

TYPE OF STUDY/LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Therapeutic II.

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